Seeing how my own internet avatar has not only changed because of my change in personal branding but also with age I ponder.
As a child the only people who had these types of images of themselves were actors, scientists, authors or CEOs. These were people who relied on their face for work or their authority.
Ever since social media, everyone now has an avatar. They might change them frequently for personal profiles but if you looked at their career based image you will see a professional, hopefully. Now these people are not actors or authors. In the most case, they are just everyday people, like me. Yet here they are with professional head shots. I am a graphic designer who never would have had this type of image of myself in the past. There would never have been a need.
Now I see that over the years this image of me has transformed and evolved. In the past on the internet we all wanted a bit of anonymity. I hid behind a random image. That image evolved as my design sensibilities and personal branding grew. Then after some time it was perfectly normal to have a photo of myself on the internet. I took a self portrait of myself, feeling vulnerable. I liked how the picture turned out. I was having a good hair day. Then this image becomes my avatar, an image of myself that others then identify with. Even as my hair grew long and I grew older, this image was the image that represented me.
Once I was no longer in my early twenties I knew I needed to update that image. I was no longer a university student working the musical festivals circuit. I am now a grown up with a career trying to reinforce my professional image as a freelancer. I need people to take me seriously. I wore a nice shirt on a good hair day and took yet another self-portrait. This time there was no vulnerability, I knew my skills and now needed an image that showed I the professional that I am. I remember that day telling my mum about how I have now officially grown older on the internet.
Continuing on with professional development and branding changes, and the need for a more personal, warm photo. The same image from last year is now zoomed in. It is encased in a diamond, the main if only element of my personal branding. When all the other avatars are in boxes or circles I am still trying to be outside the box.